Authors Interviews

Off The Eagle’s Claws

Off-The-Eagle's-Claws E-Book.jpg

“What’s more fascinating than sinking into the world of books?” 

I have been reading books of all genres lately and this is one of those great reads.

Blurb:

The story of one white man’s fight against the odds from the days of Rhodesia to independence in an African ruled dimension. He fought and survived the Rhodesian bush war from the losing end as a Caucasian soldier. His friend and confidante is an aircraft pilot dodging the anti aircraft bullets and rockets launched by the nationalist guerrillas fighting a war against the might of Rhodesia. They are forced to fight a rear guard action as the nationalist gain a foothold and ground against the dwindling ranks of the Rhodesian professional soldier. Besides the war, after peace, Mark Rainger takes to the bush for solace retreating from the media spotlight ferrying truckloads of tourists and walking them into lion territory. That is until he meets a woman by the name of Rosemary, unfortunately she is married. His attempt at love fails as he ends up being blackmailed for his affairs in the war and with Rosemary. How does a bachelor in his late 30’s survive in the new black ruled country where every upstart politician takes a swipe at the ex-Rhodesians?

My Review:

The book depicts a thorough conflict between profession and personal life and the author has written so beautifully that it gets to you. I was given this book for a honest review. It takes sometime to sink into the story, the surroundings and the characters since the story runs around the protagonist who works as a soldier while the war takes place in Rhodesia. Recommended and worth reading.

Book-Buy Links:

Thanks for reading.

Hope you will enjoy reading as much as I did.

Stay tuned for the authors interview soon.

 

Authors Interviews

Show your love :)

I am glad to be one of the closest acquainted among Mihran Kalaydjian’s friends and be part of his music that’s so beautiful and touching.

Mihran is attending the musical awards his team is working towards setting the Radio Internet site and if I am not too late, your love and appreciation can make a lot of difference.

Show your love and affection by hitting the ‘like’ button if you would like to part of something so big and lovely.

https://www.facebook.com/MihranKalaydjianPianoMelodies

See below an introduction about Radio Element

In response to listener demand, Radio Element will launch a series of specialized programs that relate to distinct tastes and preferences. Topics range from societal issues and cultural reawakening to sports and song requests. Each of the various shows on the grid brings a level of transparency to the community, impacting the decisions listeners make, daily.
The range of programming to include specialized cultural, political and educational shows, event coverage, as well as local, international and  news. Committed to maintaining consistently high programming standards throughout its schedule. By extending its cultural reach locally and worldwide, Radio Element to become a unique and valuable community resource.
Mission
Radio Element’s mission is to provide a trusted source of information, entertainment and quality programming to a global community of listeners, united in their appreciation of Middle East, Armenian, European and English music.
Vision
Radio Element’s aspires to be a valued, vibrant and vital creative outlet and community resource, within and across national boundaries.

Spread the word and help to untie the talent across  🙂

Thank you fans & followers ❤

Authors Interviews · Guest Posts

Interesting post by Expert Editor

“Terror is easy. Writing is hard, and writing well is really hard. The Paris terrorists didn’t put pen to paper to defend the honour of Mohammed because doing so would have forced them to think critically, and reason out why the honour of a seemingly mortal man born 1400 years ago is worth defending in the first place. The only way to convey ideas is through writing; and good writing has a neat way of exposing bad ones.”
A timely article and may prompt some writers to think about the considerable power they wield
Authors Interviews · Guest Posts

Guest Post by Author D.J. Donaldson

CAJUN NIGHTS AND THE CHARACTERS WITHIN:

THE MANY LIVES OF A TV SERIES THAT NEVER WAS

by D.J. Donaldson

LIFE #1

Cajun Nights was my first novel featuring New Orleans medical examiner, Andy Broussard, and his suicide/death investigator, Kit Franklyn.  A few weeks after the book was published, I got a call from my agent with the surprising news that, “There’s been a flurry of movie and TV interest in your book.”  I’d never considered that such a thing was possible. So that was one of the best phone calls I ever had.

Subsequently, a production company headed by the former director of programming at CBS took an option on the series, planning to shape it into a TV show.  As perhaps some of you know, this phase of things is known as “development hell”, because it takes a very long time to make anything happen. So a year went by with no news.  I figure, okay, the thing is dead.  But, the producers renewed their option for another year, which meant I got paid again.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but with that check, I’d made more money from the two option years than the advance I was given on the book by the publisher.

So more time goes by with no news.  Now, I’m not even thinking about it anymore. Then, while I was attending a scientific meeting in Dallas, I got a call from the agent in Hollywood who was handling the dramatic rights.  CBS had agreed to pay for a pilot screenplay. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if this guy had tracked me down in Dallas just to tell me that, it must be a big deal.  And guess what… I got another check as an advance on the screenplay even though I wasn’t gonna write it.  I was beginning to love the agent who created that contract.

They chose as a writer someone who’d had several movies produced.  That may seem like something not worth mentioning, but I’d read an article once that said it was possible to have a career as a screenwriter and never have anything produced.  (Yeah, I don’t quite get that either, but it sure seemed like the writer we had, was the better kind.) With her experience and success, I was sure we’d get a great screenplay.

A few months later, a package arrives in the mail.  IT’S THE SCREENPLAY.  I’m so excited, I quickly skim the enclosed letter from the producers: “Read this over and tell us three things you don’t like about it.”  That’s ridiculous, I’m gonna love it.  After all, it was written by a pro.

Well, I hated all of it.  The writer didn’t seem to “get” the relationship between Andy and Kit.  I couldn’t believe it.  The books show that non-romantic love is possible between an unrelated man and woman of greatly differing ages. Though he can’t admit it, Broussard loves Kit like the daughter he never had.  Kit loves Broussard like a father, even though she has a father.  How do I boil all the things I hate down to just three items? Somehow I manage and send my reply back.

As it turned out, the producers didn’t really care about any of my thoughts.  Was I upset?  Not really, because I figured they know TV, I don’t.  And… surprise, when they gave the script to CBS, I got another check.  Now I definitely love my agent.

The producers are sure the script will be approved and we’ll soon be shooting a pilot.  They invite me to watch them film in New Orleans.  They say they’ll even find a bit part for me.  They predict that the series will run for ten years. And they should know. Their show, Cagney and Lacey, ran for seven seasons. Now I’m excited.

But… later, I get another call.  CBS didn’t like the script. And they didn’t want to see a rewrite with the same story. The producers asked me if I had any ideas.  The screenplay was based on the second book in the series. When I got this call I was sitting at my desk looking at the rough draft of book number three.  I pitched them the story and they said, “Send us a copy by overnight mail.”  This was back before manuscripts could be sent by e-mail. (I know, I can hardly remember those days myself.)

So another screenplay was written, which didn’t fare any better than the first. Thus life #1 of my hoped-for TV series went to a quiet demise.

LIFE #2

A few years later, while I was at the Kentucky book fair promoting book number five in the series, a young blonde fellow bought a book.  We spoke for a few minutes and he moved on.  Later, back in Memphis, I get a call from this guy.  He wants to option the series for TV.  I tell him about my earlier experience with the other producers, who failed, but he’s unfazed.  We strike a deal.  There’s talk about John Goodman playing Broussard.  John Goodman… he lives in New Orleans and he’d be a great fit.  I love it.

Within a few weeks the producer calls to say he’s on his way to Memphis and could I meet him and John Goodman’s “best friend,” at the Peabody Hotel.  (The Peabody lobby is where William Faulkner and his mistress used to have drinks.)  The meeting takes place and I give the best friend a copy of the latest book, which he assures us, will be in John Goodman’s hands within twenty-four hours. That was the last time I ever heard from him or the producer.  So I guess the deal is off.

LIFE #3

In my primary occupation, I taught medical and dental students microscopic anatomy.  One day I get a call from a former dental student.  He’s now a part-time actor who’s been in a couple of notable films.  He says that he and a long-time Hollywood promoter have formed a production company and are looking for material. He remembers that I wrote a few novels and wonders what I’ve been doing since he last saw me. I talk about my work and send him some books.

Very soon thereafter he calls me again and says he and his partner “are on fire over these forensic books.”  They believe the series would make a great TV SERIES.  He asks me who I’d like to play Broussard.  I tell him I’ve always believed Wilford Brimley would be perfect.  Incredibly, my former student says that his partner had lunch with Wilford just last week.  He’s sure they can get him to sign on.  With an actor of Wilford’s stature attached to the project, we’ll surely get a deal.

Was all this talk about Brimley just smoke?  No.  Because they actually got him on board.  And what’s even better, my former student and his partner were working with another producer who had a development deal with the Sci-Fi network.  They planned to present my series to the network three weeks hence, focusing on the real and apparent paranormal aspects of the first two books.

On presentation day at the Sci-Fi Network my student calls me just before they go in.  I wait anxiously the rest of the day to hear how it went.  Years later, I’m still waiting.  The only contact I’ve had since presentation day is a big envelope from the producer who had the development deal.  In the envelope is a bunch of stuff I wrote for the presentation along with a note from the producer that says, “Sorry we couldn’t have worked longer on this together.”

LESSON LEARNED

Early in the machinations of the first development deal, I used to caution myself not to spend any time thinking about how great it would be if every week I could watch my characters living and breathing on a TV show.  My thinking was that if I kept a tight rein on my expectations, it’d be much easier on my psyche if things didn’t work out.

But then I realized I was missing out on the excitement of the possibility.  Why not let my mind run with it?  Then, even if none of the deals came to fruition I would still have the pleasure of being part of a great endeavor.  So that’s what I did.  And now, even though I never played that bit part in a pilot and I’ve never seen John Goodman or Wilford Brimley bring Broussard to life, I sure had a lot of fun along the way.

 (By the way, if you’re a TV/film producer, the rights are available.)

###

——————-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Nursery Rhymes and Murder-Suicides Haunt New Orleans

Black magic releases ancient curse in the Big Easy

 

“Action-packed, cleverly plotted topnotch thriller. Another fine entry in a consistently outstanding series.”

–Booklist

“D. J. Donaldson is superb at spinning medical fact into gripping suspense. With his in-depth knowledge of science and medicine, he is one of very few authors who can write with convincing authority.”

–Tess Gerritsen, NY Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles novels

 Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

 Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release Cajun Nights (ISBN: 978-1941286-38-8; Fiction/Mystery & Suspense; $5.99 E-Book), the latest Broussard mystery by D.J. Donaldson.

Young and vibrant New Orleans criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn has just been assigned her most challenging case yet—a collection of victims with type O blood who drove an antiquated car, humming a nursery rhyme right before committing murder and then suicide. Welcoming the help of her jovial boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard, the two set out to solve the case devising strictly scientific possibilities. Not once do they consider the involvement of black magic until an ancient Cajun sorcerer’s curse surfaces—“Beware the songs you loved in youth.”

Written in his unique style, Donaldson’s Cajun Nights combines hard-hitting, action-packed prose with brilliant first-hand knowledge of forensics and the sultry flavor of New Orleans. The result is a gripping mystery involving murder and some occult flare in the creole heartland.

###

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

 

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.

 

 

Authors Interviews

Cajun Nights by D.J. Donaldson

D.J. Donaldson is the author of the incredibly popular Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn Mystery Series, set in New Orleans.
Many people have read the novels, but what many don’t know is that these books almost became a TV series (3 separate times!) The loveable, relatable characters and the beautifully depicted creole setting caught many a producer’s eye—including the former director of programming at CBS.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cajun Nights by D.J. Donaldson is the first novel in the incredibly popular Andy/Kit mystery series. Readers are thrown into the bayou with criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn, newly hired to investigate a string of murder-suicides plaguing the city. Her boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard (a super lovable protagonist and self-proclaimed foodie—a man after my own heart) accompanies her to the newest crime scene of yet another gruesome act. Throughout the novel, Kit and Broussard form a really fun team to follow, uncovering eerie clues linking the historic past of Haitian Voodoo and Sorcerers to the present.

Social-Media Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1xmg3bt
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1uL1Ftq
Apple: http://bit.ly/1tCDMjP

Don’t forget to check out the guest post tomorrow.

Authors Interviews

My Conversation with Classical Pianist Mihran Kalaydjian

Danielle with Frame

It is rare for an interview with a classical pianist in a high street cafe to be interrupted by a fan gushing appreciation. Perhaps it’s a mark of Mihran Kalaydjian “Mino” unstoppable rise and rise that our chat over tea attracts an enthusiastic greeting from the next table.

“Mihran Kalaydjian “Mino” known as “Fast Finger” is a special breed, and I mean that in the most complimentary sense of the phrase. He has it all – the whole package of artistic gifts – and in abundance. But, what strikes about his playing is the sheer beauty – the concept, the intelligence, the control over every sound, the vision, the phenomenal listening to it all – all the attributes that comprise great artistry of the sort that touches our souls.”

New York Band black and white

Earliest memory involving piano playing?

I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor in Jerusalem, Israel. My mother had a large influence on my musical development; she was the one who introduced me to music. Thanks to her, I was surrounded by music from the very beginning. Since childhood, I remember listening Berlioz’s “Fantastic Symphony”, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Chopin Etudes and many other beautiful music compositions. It was one little song that inspired me to start playing piano. I loved the song so much that I would sing it over and over. I was only Four years old, and of course I didn’t know how to read notes, so I tried to pick up the music by ear. When I sat down to play the song, it came easily. It was joy for me to be able to “perform” my favorite song and share it with my family and friends.

What was it that you think your very first piano teacher recognized in you, at even that young age?

I think it was just the love of music. I had always loved music and I sang ever since I can remember. My mother tells me that I started singing, quite in tune, even before I talked.

My first piano teacher’s name was Augustine Lama & Colin Stone. Because I was only four years old, Augustine Lama at 65 was older than my grandparents, and looked so old to me as to be very intimidating. On top of that, when he asked how old I was and realized I was four, he told me that I was too young to start piano lessons, and then maybe I should wait another year. I started crying so much that he said, “Okay, I will put you to the test.” He started beating very complicated rhythms that I should imitate, then he went to the piano and played a few notes, then chords, while I was turned around, looking in the other direction. I was able to go back to the piano and play exactly what he had played. When he realized I had perfect pitch, and after seeing how I had a good sense of rhythm, to my delight, he changed his mind and said, “You can start Monday.”

The moment when I realized I could be successful as a concert artist came when I was nineteen years old. I entered a piano competition in northern Israel. On the jury was a great Palestinian pianist and pedagogue Augustine Lama.

He immediately sensed I could soon be on the verge of a breakthrough in my career, with the right help. He became my teacher. He provided me with the all-important guidance I needed, especially in developing my own sound, which is the vehicle through which all emotions are expressed in music. He helped me see that I was too caught up with the mechanical aspects of playing, and since I was extremely proficient in that department, I was showing it off and making it the focus of all my performances. He helped me in making Art and Interpretation, along with communicativeness and singing tone, the only real important elements of music-making.

What do you believe Augustine Lama sensed in you?

I think He saw that I had extremely proficient mechanical skills at the keyboard, but she was able to sense that I hadn’t yet found my sound, probably and most likely because I wasn’t thinking about it too much. He saw that I performed well on stage, under pressure, but also that I hadn’t even begun to tap into a wealth of emotions and imagination, let alone colors. Yet he sensed that there was an inner world inside me that just needed to be let out. That’s why he became interested in helping me, and became a mentor and an amazing teacher to me.

Your definition of a perfect performance? Is this even achievable?



The perfect performance is always the next one. Seriously, perfection does not exist, and I thank God for that. Perfection is boring to me. Music is a reflection of real life, or a sublimation of it, but it is real. As such, it cannot be perfect. To me, a “perfect” performance is not one where the player doesn’t miss a note. I’d say a “perfect” performance is one that leaves you totally fulfilled, emotionally, spiritually, and, especially if you are playing, even physically.


What is the best way to bring up a musical idea, or difference, without offending each other?

“When I’m working with my colleagues, I try to avoid any kind of blameful language,” he said, laughing. “It’s definitely not about blame. For me, you can talk until the cows come home, but I find the most effective way to get someone to play something the way you want it is to play it incredibly beautifully for them, the way that you want it, so that they hear it and they say, ‘Oh yes, that sounds fantastic, let’s do that.’ That, for me, is the ultimate solution to all musical arguments.”

“Also, you have to be willing and open enough to listen to other people’s beautiful playings of things, and to say, ‘Oh yes, that is beautiful and I want to do that,'” he said. “That is the complicated, two-way street of being a good chamber musician. If you’re more consumed with making the music sound wonderful than making yourself sound wonderful, then all of this should follow.”

What do you imagine in your mind as you are playing? Do you conjure up your own stories? And if so, do they change slightly with each performance?


Imagery, extramusical inputs, are important. It depends on the music, though. Some music lends itself to specific stories and images, and these contribute in forming the interpretive idea at the base of my approach. In general, while I am performing, after having formed those stories and images, I don’t need to constantly be thinking about them. I just want to plunge into the world that I created, and just live in it, otherwise the process would become very academic. Once I have a landscape, world, or situation in mind, it’s nice to stroll through it every time with fresh eyes, instead of trying to photograph it and reproduce it identically every time. I try to live in it in the moment, so that the general aspects would be the same, but the details will be different each time, just like in real life.

What motivates you to compose? 


I’d have to say that the musicians for whom I’m writing a piece for are a very motivating factor.  It is very difficult for me to write a piece of music in the abstract, without a performance date or no person in particular.  When I connect with a performer and begin to understand what makes him/her excited and challenged and we can share that energy that is very motivating.  Also, the setting of the premiere can also motivate.  Perhaps the most motivating factor is a deadline.
The other motivating factor is simply trying to get “it” right.
Composers are, by nature of their craft, tinkerers. Like watch makers always working with intricate parts trying to make the watch tick accurately but also being pleasing to the senses.  The ever elusive target of achieving fine craftsmanship is also a motivation.
Lastly, it is simply feeling a need to say something with the utmost sincerity.  If I cannot find that feeling at the outset of writing something, it is very likely that the piece won’t see a final bar line.
These are my motivating factors for concert music.  In film, if the project is inspiring it is easy to move forward and find the right motivation.  When the film is not so good, that becomes more difficult.  Luckily, it has been a long time since I’ve experienced this difficulty.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

I have a deep affinity with the late romantics (the generations after Chopin/Schumann/Brahms) whose particular and eloquent way of writing for the piano transcends all language. They used the piano to express an endless spectrum of feelings, from unabashed romanticism to Parnassian intellectual probity, from Panglossian pessimism to spiritual elation.

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current projects.

Every single concert is different. Each one has a unique experience with the audience and in my career I have never experienced any two concerts that were the same. This coming year (2015) we will be touring in over 20 countries and we get a renewed enthusiasm from each new audience, groundbreaking, international concert venues at the Acropolis in Greece, Forbidden City in China, Taj Mahal in India, The Kremlin in Russia, and other significant international concert venues

That is the magic of live performances, they are live and never the same. I still get “butterflies” or anxious before every single show. When we perform for an audience, we get so much love from the audience that makes all of us on the stage feel so motivated and rewarded for our effort and this love and relationship with the audience is what keeps us going with such enthusiasm.
I will keep enjoying my collaboration as soloist, Composer recording for the music publication ‘Pianist Millennium Production’; a tour in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York for Christmas Melody, Texas, at the end of the year with other concert activities as usual; and learn more Rachmaninov pieces!

Performance Links

Just a few of the awards that Mihran has received for his music.

GOLD MEDALIST in FOUR INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITIONS

New Orleans IPC, Alfredo Barilli IPC, Washington IPC, Missouri Southern IPC, Laureate of Seiler IPC, Special Prizes (including Best Performances of 20th-Century and Commissioned Works)

  1.  WINNER for “Album of the Year” in the 2013 Whisperings Solo Piano Radio awards.
  2.  “Spiritual Awakening” nominated for Best New Age Song in the 2013 Independent Music Awards.
  3.  Nominated for Best Solo Piano Album on One World Music.
  4.  “Radiance” nominated for Best Instrumental Song in the 2013 Boston Music in Media (HMMA’s) Awards. 
  5.  “2013 Top Pick” from Kathy Parsons on MainlyPiano.com 
  6.  Ranked #45 on the 2013 Top 100 Albums on Zone Music Reporter.  
  7. Olga Brose Valencia Prize for Excellence in Musical Composition (2008)
  8. “Time Lines” Down Beat Album of the Year 2006
  9. First Doris Duke Foundation Award for Jazz Composers

Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

http://www.mihrankalaydjianpiano.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MihranKalaydjianPianoMelodies

https://plus.google.com/+MihrankalaydjianpianoMelody/posts

Hope you enjoyed reading and getting to know Mihran 🙂

Authors Interviews

My Conversation with Dr. Suzana Flores

Flores Headshot For BookTell us a little more about yourself?

I was born and raised in a rough neighborhood in the south-side of Chicago. My parents owned a grocery store and while I hold many happy memories of my childhood, I also remember us being held up at gun point during various robberies spanning 15 years. These early experiences helped shape my personality in that I cope with stress through the use of humor, I’m spontaneous and tend to be direct and to the point with my feedback – a therapeutic style that seems to appeal many of my clients. Additionally, because of my background, the concept of resiliency intrigued me. Even at a young age, I wondered how other people coped with anxiety and trauma. Therefore, psychology as a profession came naturally to me.

I completed my Masters in psychology at Loyola University and Doctorate at Argosy University in Chicago. I’ve worked in various settings throughout my career including: community counseling centers, a Federal Prison, psychiatric units, hospital emergency rooms and for a few years I was the Director of Counseling at The Illinois Institute of Art. Currently I am in private practice in downtown Chicago.

Quickly, tell us about your upcoming releases?

Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives was released on October 1, 2014.  I’m currently working on my next book about sexual, dating and pornography apps, current trends in sexual technology, and how they’re changing the game in terms of our relationships and our mindset about sexual media.

 Do you have any specific inspiring incident that turned you out as an author?

Yes. In my private practice I began noticing a shift in my client’s presentations. A new dynamic was introduced in our sessions: Facebook and social media. Many of them began speaking about the anxiety and sadness they’d experiences as a result of certain Facebook interactions. Yet, despite experiencing loss of friendships, relationships and even jobs due to misunderstandings or passive-aggressive posts through social media many of my clients were not able to take a ‘Facebook vacation.’  This wasn’t just a pattern with my clients. I noticed subtle changes in how my friends colleagues expressed themselves through social media. People started to share more personal information. They became less concerned with privacy. Through strategic sharing of edited or embellished posts and photographs I noticed that several Facebook users seeking acceptance and approval through “likes.” It seemed that people were ignoring their inner voice of authenticity and self acceptance and instead focused on the outer noise of external validation. I even noticed changes in myself. I started filtering or editing my expressions – something that I do not tend to do.

I began to consider the possibility of writing a book, but self-doubt set in. “I’m a psychologist, not a writer!” Yet the changes in our personal and social dynamics continued to intrigue me to the point that I couldn’t stop talking about it to anyone who would listen. Then the day came when I had to escort one of my clients to the emergency room due to suicidal ideation. He had logged on that morning and discovered that his fiancée had changed her Relationship Status from “engaged” to “in a relationship with” and my client’s photo and name were replaced with those of his best friend. The ending of an engagement is traumatizing enough, but what seemed to traumatize my client was that he discovered that his relationship had ended on this very public forum. In fact his friends, work colleagues and family members discovered it before he did, and his phone rang consistently with his Facebook contacts wanting information about the break-up. My client was hospitalized for four days. On that day I realized, doubt or no doubt, I had to write this book. I wanted to help people by shedding light on how prolonged social media interactions can change the way we see ourselves and others and is leading to certain behavioral changes. Facebook has the power to both empower and traumatize us depending on how we use it.

Who designed your cover art? How did you choose the image?

My web designer, Richard Baukovic, conceptualized and designed the avatars and the mosaic background made of real Facebook profile photos.  I thought the design is just brilliant and requested to the publisher that they use Richard’s design in Facehooked.  Mary Moore from Reputation Books designed the jacket cover.  Many people have complemented the finished product. In my opinion, these designers are true geniuses in their craft.

Do you outline your work before you write?

Not really although I should, because I’m sure it would make the work easier. I always keep a journal on me. Whenever I get a thought, I have to write it down immediately. The writing takes a life of its own from there and then I type it up later on my laptop. This system is not time efficient, but I’ve noticed that I write better through cursive first. At first, the drafts on my computer look like a disaster of unstructured paragraphs, and I have to print them out to “see” what the structure should be. I edit and structure it from there.

How do you like spending your leisure hours?

I live in Chicago so how I spend my leisure time really depends on the weather. In the winter, I enjoy relaxing at home, reading a good book, magazine (WIRED is my favorite) or Marvel comic book. My husband and I enjoy watching adventure movies or a Netflix series with our two dogs, Lillie and Frida. Right now I’m hooked on American Horror Story – the Coven series was out of this world good! I also enjoy meditating when I can (I’m a practicing Buddhist) and acrylic painting.  In the summer, I try to spend time outdoors with family and friends at cultural festivals, plays and restaurants. Chicago has amazing restaurants and most Chicagoans try to absorb as much of the warm weather as we can!

Which genre is far more appealing to you as a reader?

 Adventure/suspense.

What inspires you to write? Is there any level of similarity with the events in your book and in reality?

When something intrigues me on a psychological level I wonder if others are intrigued as well. The idea behind Facehooked began when I wondered if other people were aware of the behavioral changes I was noticing and so I started asking questions. At first I made a huge sign that read, “Talk to me about social media” and held it as I stood outside of my downtown office in the freezing Chicago winter. At first people looked at me like I was crazy, but then people started to speak to me about both their positive and negative experiences with social media interactions. Then I started interviewing people privately where they shared more details about how their digital expressions and interactions have affected their relationships. Finally I threw out my questions to the Facebook community and other forums. I received responses from people across the globe. All of the case studies in my book are from Facebook and social media users.

 Which is your current read?

 Lamentation by Joe Clifford.

 What, in your opinion is the toughest part while carving your book?

 The Book Proposal – hands down. It’s torture. Structuring a book is necessary, but I prefer doing most things backwards or against the stream – this apparently also includes writing.  The other tough part is starting a book.  I think what keeps me from starting is the apprehension that comes with knowing that I’m beginning a project that will take me a long time to complete, will take up a lot of my time and will lead me to experience feelings of self-doubt. Since I began this journey and have met other contributing authors from the Prose and Cons blog, I’ve discovered that most writers experience similar feelings.

 Share a word of advice with our readers and authors, if any?

Write what you want to write – no matter what anyone tells you. When I first started writing Facehooked, I’ve heard anything from “You’ll never finish. You’ll ever find an agent. Getting a publisher will be impossible. It’s too competitive. You need to be realistic.”   That’s one of my least favorite phrases – “be realistic” because whenever someone says that to you what they’re really saying is, “I can’t do what you’re doing.” Most writers, or anyone in the creative arts for that matter, experience self-doubt at some point in their careers. Listening to the negative statements from other people doesn’t help you to believe in yourself and your talents. A motto I created for myself is, “Positive people in. Negative people out. It’s not personal.”  The last line is the most important because if someone is disrupting your work, is a toxic entity in your life, or is leading you to doubt your abilities (regardless of the reason behind their negativity) maintaining some distance from them will be necessary in order to find your true inner voice.  You are your own best advocate and sometimes you have to fight to turn a dream into reality.

Share one of your favorites from your music band collection, if any?

Oh boy. My music taste really varies. . I’m a huge fan of Aretha Franklin  – she has some serious power in her words and her voice.  I love Nina Simone, Louie Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and most music from that era. I’m a 80s child so I like anything by The Cure, Depeche Mode, R.E.M., and The Smiths. In terms of modern music I like Lady Gaga – she has such a unique persona, Katy Perry, One Republic, Barenaked Ladies, Pitbull, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Tupac.

If you’re a foodie, tell us about your favorite dish?

I LOVE food. I don’t know what I’d do without Sushi and Indian food. I especially love lamb, so if I had to choose one absolute favorite dish…it’d be Rogan Josh.   I grew up with Mexican food so naturally I can’t go a long time without it.  I love chicken with mole and fresh made tortillas. Yummers!

 List any giveaways or surprises in mere future?

We’ve had a couple of giveaways on Goodreads and I will work with Reputation Books to see if we can organize another giveaway in the near future.

 Where can we find your books?

 Currently, Facehooked is available in hardcover and ebook at Amazon.com

 We would love to reach out to you, please share your social media active platform

 Twitter: @DrSuzanaFlores

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Dr-Suzana-Flores/151766501581253

 Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107568521327889199414?tab=wX#107568521327889199414/posts?tab=wX

Thank you for reading this 🙂

Authors Interviews

My Conversation with Author Leonce Gaiter

Leonce-Gaiter author photo

Tell us a little more about yourself?

I am half of an interracial, gay couple living in a small, Northern California town with a distressingly right wing tinge (California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 was hugely popular here and the town has an ugly, racist history). However, with 2 horses, a California addiction, and little money, we wound up here in one of California’s few simultaneously attractive (to my eye), yet affordable, and easily accessible spots. We’re not far from San Francisco or Sacramento, and we have a sweet little college town just down the hill. We’ve come to love the land, our home, and our friends. Just more proof that you should never let the freaks stop you from doing what you want!

Quickly, tell us about your upcoming releases?

Anybody can read a synopsis, so I won’t bore you with that. But the story reared its head 20 plus years ago when I wrote what turned out to be an interesting, but strangely incomplete screenplay. It was the first thing I had every written in which I felt some pride. After my flirtation with the film industry ended, it wound up in a drawer until I was looking for something to write that wouldn’t hit the mainstream impediments into which my other work ran.

See here: http://astorandblue.com/author-spotlight-leonce-gaiter/
I had never been able to make “In the Company of Educated Men” really work as a screenplay. That’s probably because I am no screenwriter. I’m a writer, who’s been grossly influenced by film. The two media that have had the greatest impact on my writing are the two that writing bears the least similarity to – music and film. Both are visceral and sensual. Writing is the intellectual act of composing abstract symbols for others to decode.

Do you have any specific inspiring incident that turned you out as an author?

I had the idea that I wanted to write as early as junior high school. Over time, I’ve changed what I wanted to write, but the basics never changed.
Who designed your cover art? How did you choose the image?
I spoke to my editor and publisher, who had a talented designer with whom he’d worked successfully. I proposed a broad idea born out of iconic old Blue Note Records album covers. The designer then ran with that and came up with the cover, which I love. It’s most appropriate for a road/memory piece. It hammers home the novel’s sharp juxtapositions—quintessential American landscape, violence, flight, and seeing the past.

Do you outline your work before you write?

As I mentioned, this piece was first a screenplay, which turned out to be a problem. I spent most of the rewriting time trying to erase any vestiges of the screen—making sure that I was communicating fully and not relying on images that would never appear!

Which genre is far more appealing to you as a reader?

Just about the only thing I don’t read is modern literary fiction, and modern popular fiction. I’m a freak for Trollope; I love Robertson Davies; I grew up on Faulkner; I sailed through Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Matarin series. I enjoy good science fiction and fantasy. Unfortunately, I just haven’t developed a taste for modern popular and literary fiction. I think it’s because my tastes run toward the impressionistic-expressionistic end of the spectrum, and the modern style that runs toward kitchen sink realism. I don’t want to read about worlds I’m familiar with full of people that I recognize or consider “just like me.” As stated, I’m a black, gay, Harvard graduate who grew up in cities and now lives in the sticks. No one’s beating on that particular drum, so even if I wanted to see myself in fiction, the odds are agin’ it. Perhaps since I fall so far outside the ideal demographic for modern pieces, I find their attempts at representation cloying? I don’t know. When you come down to it, I guess, as always, it’s just taste. I like the larger than life, the extraordinary. I like to read whole worlds, not just people in this one.

What inspires you to write? Is there any level of similarity with the events or characters in your book and in reality?

I think I write about the people I wish I had the courage or foolhardiness to be.

Which is your current read?

Currently finishing the last volume of Taylor Branch’s history of the Martin Luther King years—one of my rare forays into non-fiction.

What, in your opinion is the toughest part while carving your book?

That depends. My last novel had several false starts. Based on a true historical story, I had to slowly grope my way toward the world I wanted to represent. Starting with the 5 characters of the Rufus Buck Gang, each subsequent draft essentially expanded like a balloon, drawing in other historical figures and elements of the zeitgeist until I had a fully-fledged novel.
With this book, it was fully developing the characters that had remained stunted in screenplay form. I think it’s different every time.

Share one of your favorites from your music band collection, if any?

I listen to a lot of jazz, and when I turn to popular music, I tend toward great songwriters. Joe Henry is one of my favorites, and I quote from one of his songs at the end of “In the Company of Educated Men.” It’s called “Our Song,” and it’s truly an extraordinary piece.

Where can we find your books?

My first novel, “Bourbon Street,” was published by Carroll & Graf, which went belly up a few years ago, so that one’s only available on ebook, and you can get it on Amazon and B&N. “I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang,” is available in paper and ebook at the usual places. As of November 4, “In the Company of Educated Men” is available in paper and ebook pretty much everywhere (I hope!).

What are you currently working on?

Absolutely nothing! I don’t write constantly, only when I have an idea that really grips me. After a point, I go looking for one—but I’m not there yet! Actually, due to recent events, I am considering writing a non-fiction book I’ve been pondering for some time. Following themes that have appeared in a lot of my non-fiction essays, it regards the desperate African-American need to take total responsibility for teaching our history to ourselves because without it, the young descendants of American slaves will never realize that when they are mistreated due to race, it’s not because there’s something wrong with them, but because there’s a long history of something wrong in America.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

My site leoncegaiter.com, contains links about my books and information, as well as non-fiction. I think it has all anybody would want to know about me. Actually, I’m sure no one wants to know anything about me. I’d feel very lucky if they wanted to know more about my work.

Thank you for reading this. Hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did.

Authors Interviews

My conversation with Pritam Banerjee

10451022_694879360566057_7965710681499240284_n

Tell us a little more about yourself?
Well I am Pritam Banerjee, born and brought up in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and did my schooling from National Gems Higher Secondary School (Kolkata). Currently I am in 3rd year studying BTECH in Aeronautical Engineering. Other than that I am a musician, scriptwriter, cricketer and a quizzard. I am a film buff, a pet lover, especially dogs. Listening to music and reading novels are my favorite free time work.

Quickly, tell us about your upcoming releases?
Well I am currently working on my next novel. Let’s see when can I finish it and release it

Do you have any specific inspiring incident that turned you out as an author?
No incident as such but I was reading the novel ‘Oh yes I’m Single and so is my Girlfriend’ by Durjoy Datta. Suddenly some part of that novel inspired me to write ‘I, Me & Her, Forever’. So I would like to thank Durjoy Datta and his book for inspiring me so much

Who designed your cover art? How did you choose the image?
In every other love story book I find that the cover design contains a picture of a couple or a love sign or maybe a rose. So I wanted my cover design to be completely different from others. The thought of putting up nature’s picture then struck my mind. Well nature also resembles love if we think in the other way round. So I got the picture from a friend of mine and then my publisher helped me in designing the cover

Do you outline your work before you write?
Yes obviously. That’s an important part of writing a novel. You need to collect ideas, jot them down, arrange them in sequences and then proceed with it

How do you like spending your leisure hours?
By reading novels, listening to music and playing mobile games.

Which genre is far more appealing to you as a reader?
Well as a reader you should read books of every genre. It helps you gain knowledge and you can even relate yourself to the novel. I started with reading love stories first then shifted to other forms. But as a reader I find intellectual books of Paulo Coelho and inspirational books of Robin Sharma very very convincing and it appeals to me a lot. There are a lot of things to learn from those novels

What inspires you to write? Is there any level of similarity with the events or characters in your book and in reality?
I prefer collecting ideas from real life incidents. I think an author must try to write something which appeals to a maximum number of people. Even I try to do that. So my inspiration comes from several authors and reading their books. Yah it is. The character Abhishek resembles me in many ways. Not only Abhishek. Each and every character of the book resembles a character in reality. The entire story is a true story and the incidents have been collected from real life. I don’t want to disclose anything more here. I would like to keep my mouth shut. One message for everyone “Read my book”. You’ll get to know more.

Which is your current read?

Well actually I am reading 5 books altogether right now (laughs). I know it’s strange but I love to do like that. I read it every day by rotating one or the other book. Those are Inferno by Dan Brown, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marques (I love reading this book over and over again. This book has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me), Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi and Adultery by Paulo Coelho.

What, in your opinion is the toughest part while carving your book?

Apart from thinking about the title of the novel nothing was easy, be it setting up the plot of the novel, getting the ideas together, using good words and good English, writing the entire novel or the publishing procedure, the entire journey has been a hard one for me. See I am not someone who is doing a course on literature or I am not that kind of a student who used to get the highest marks in English in school. I used to get average marks always. Be it in English grammar or sentence construction or fluently speaking in English I was not that appropriate. So I feel use of good English words and writing proper English is the hardest thing about writing

Share a word of advice with our readers and authors, if any?
Read more. The more you read, the more you learn and the more you learn the more you gain knowledge. You can develop a good and unique style of writing a novel, different and varied sorts of ideas will automatically develop and ultimately you’ll be able to enrich yourself by that.

Share one of your favorites from your music band collection, if any?

Though I am a musician myself yet I don’t listen to band songs. I prefer Indian classical music

If you’re a foodie, tell us about your favorite dish?
Yes I am a foodie. And there are lots of favorite dishes of mine. But if you tell me to name one I would say Mixed fried rice and Shanghai Chicken

List any giveaways or surprises in mere future?
Hold on hold on. Have patience. You will get to know everything will time (smiles)

Where can we find your books?
http://www.infibeam.com/Books/i-me-her-forever-pritam-banerjee/9789382303350.html#variantId=P-M-B-9789382303350 (for sale in India only)
(ebook)- http://www.amazon.com/Me-Her-Forever-Pritam-Banerjee-ebook/dp/B00JLDQZG0/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398463598&sr=1-7&keywords=Smriti+Publisher
(ebook)-  http://www.swiftboox.com/ebooks/romance/i-me-and-her-forever.html

We would love to reach out to you, please share your social media active platform
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/pritambanerjeefanpage
Twitter- banerjee@1993
WeChat – iampritam1993

Hope you enjoyed reading the conversation 🙂